Pained over the recent incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in the state, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has decided not to have fireworks and ceremonial lighting at the Golden Temple this Diwali as well as Gurparb of Guru Ram Das on October 29. This will be a first in the last at least 30 years in Punjab that has seen the dark days of militancy.
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar has also appealed to the Sikh community to refrain from having fireworks and ceremonial lighting on the two festivals. Asked if it would be a ‘Black Diwali’ that radical Sikh organisations had demanded, Makkar claimed: “I did not say that.”
“Guru Granth Sahib gives a message of peace and brotherhood, but some elements are trying to spoil the peace of Punjab; and we fail to understand why,” he said, adding: “The people behind these acts have no religion.”
The Sikh community has also joined in ‘akhand paaths’ at various places in the state as repentance for the desecration of the holy book.
The radicals gathered at Bargari village in Faridkot district on Sunday, at the bog ceremony of the two Sikhs killed in police firing during a protest against sacrilege, had made a resolution that called for observing ‘Black Diwali’. The divine lights and fireworks at the shrine on Diwali and Gurparb attract pilgrims from all over the world.
Mum on key issues
After a closed-door meeting with the other officials of the Sikh body, the SGPC president refrained from saying anything on the current crisis in the faith. Sitting inside his car, each time when asked about the flip-flop on issue of the suspension of the Panj Pyaras of the Akal Takht, Makkar said “no comments” over and over, keen to evade an issue that has brought criticism to the SGPC as well as the state government.